Foods Rich in Antioxidants- the Need of the Day
Our bodies produce their own antioxidants. Without antioxidants we would easily become sick with numerous infections and may even get cancer within a few months. However, besides the antioxidants produced in our bodies we need to also eat foods containing antioxidants in order to boost our body’s defense mechanisms.
Antioxidants protect against infections and they also help to protect against heart disease, cancer and joint problems. In the body naturally there is the formation of chemicals called free radicals which are produced to defend the body against bacteria, environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, ultra violet light, etc. If left unchecked, then these free radicals can precipitate heart disease and cancer. Also it has been found that people whose diets are deficient in antioxidants such as selenium, Vitamin A, C and E are more prone to joint problems.
It is thought that free radicals may start the damage that causes fatty cholesterol deposits in the arteries, which can eventually lead to heart disease or a stroke. High levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals may help to prevent this harmful process, as well as damage to DNA (the genetic material) in body cells that could lead to certain cancers.
To obtain an adequate intake of antioxidants it is safer to eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains than take supplements. Citrus fruits like oranges and musambi as well as tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C. Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables supply beta carotene, the precursor of vitamin A – tomatoes, red and green peppers, (capsicum), carrots and papaya. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower and ground nut oil which we can use in our daily cooking. Dhals and pulses like channa, rajma, green gram, etc. are also good sources of Vitamin A and E.
Eating whole grains like whole wheat atta bread or rotis give us both Vitamin E and selenium which is an effective antioxidant which relieves us of joint problems.
2 Servings of Dhals/Pulses
2 Meals of Whole Cereals like cornflakes, ragi porridge or oats porridge, whole wheat bread and whole wheat roti (atta roti) dry chapatti.
2 glasses Milk/Curd